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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Anatomy Of A Sting

I was on the road all day Sunday, hence the lateness of the post.

Let me say that this weekend, was amongst the best since my permanent move to the US:

...A gorgeous 81F averaged two days, in cloudless, sunny skies (just grinding the glass deeper into my ice-bound readers' hands).

...A weekend where art festivals, and boat shows made South Florida just jump with a beehive of activity.

...As well as personal jaunts along 1-95 highway, allowing me to take in the length and breadth of this laid-back State.

But, something happened at the very end of it, that really upset me, although it was like tasting a corked wine, at the end of a delightful repast.

I was on my way back from Boca Raton, Sunday, when I heard the call of nature loud and clear.

So I got off the nearest exit, in the NW area of Miami.

Now you have to understand -- no matter how politically correct people want to be, and some want to be a lot, there are no two ways about saying this, but that particular area is predominantly black, and dangerous.

It was the same area where German tourists were gunned down, not once, but three times, in the span of a few months. This led to the biggest loss of European tourist revenue SoFla had, pre-Hurricane Andrew.

The reason tourists ended up in that area, was that highway signage in Florida was woeful: confusing, unenlightening, quirky.

Still is, really, despite the sun-signs some genius put up to designate Miami Beach, since a sun with rays is, they think, an international sign for 'beach'.

Whatever.

Between soiled pants, and a quick trip to Walgreens, visible from the road, I decided to chance a lightning quick jaunt to a well-lit, popular chain pharmacy.

I enter, ask for the lavatory, and was directed personally by the guard at the door. Excellent.

So far, piece of cake, and I felt a total fool, and quite possibly racist, for thinking what I did.

On my way back, I didn't tarry, but I did pass the household cleaners aisle.

Ooh, Charmin Mega on sale! I'm so there.

So there I was, in unfamiliar ground in NW Miami, carrying two huge rolls of TP to the cashier, hearing the generic-voiced announcer say:

"You can now have your prescriptions written in 8 languages: including Chinese, Spanish, French and Vietnamese! If you know someone who doesn't speak English, tell them about our great language service!"

I almost dropped the rolls, I was WTF'ing and laughing so loudly.

Walgreens: The Interpreter II, starring Nicole Kidman in the ketchup aisle.

Only in America, my friends.

...I was third in the queue, so I plunked down the rolls on the counter to await my turn.

I was sandwiched between a black gentleman dressed to a tee (perhaps Sunday services, I thought), and a black lady, barely out of her teens, with ruffled jeans, the kind Nancy Sinatra wore with such panache in the 60's.

(Now I know what the lads out there are thinking, but not only do women have this way of taking details in within seconds, but remember, I have a writer's eye for a story)

She had on a brand-spanking new iPod with dangling white earphones, and seemingly unaware what was about to happen.

Since the queue was taking a long time, I suddenly hear the man in front of me ask the woman:

"Oh is that a new iPod?" I've been wanting to buy one."
"Yeah. It's great."
"Do you have a large HD for it?"
"I don't know; it was a present."
"Do you mind if I listen to it? I've never heard one before."


So he reaches past me, and she hands a perfect stranger her iPod.

Okayyy, I'm saying in my highly amused inner monologue, this is a first. I feel like the cameraman in that WB show, Blind Date.

As she handed him her iPod, I remember thinking, I'm going to whisper a funny remark at her, saying this playa has some phat pick-up moves, or cringingly awkward words to that effect.

But suddenly I see...

...in the quickest, slickest, most experienced move you've ever seen...

She reaches unto the counter, where I had lain my cell phone momentarily (which I NEVER do, since its brand-new and I'm a protective mama still), and slides her hand unto it.

In the same instance, she starts to walk away with the first guy, who had in the meantime paid for his item.

As distracted by their flirty conversation as I was, I still had the presence of mind to grab her hand immediately, and say,

"What are you doing!?! That's my mobile!!"

Perhaps it was my reflex usage of the British term for cell phone, or my accent, or the fact that she wasn't expecting to be caught out in a move which she had obviously perfected many times before, but she became all flustered as all eyes were upon her suddenly.

"Oh! I thought it was mine.", she parried weakly.

And with a quick look at the man in front, she sauntered out of the Walgreens, leaving her pack of gum at the counter, unpurchased.

The cashier chap didn't even bat an eyelash, so though my heart was racing, as it would with you too, after just having almost been quasi-pickpocketed, I went out with my stupid impulse-buy purchases, which almost cost me $250 and irreplaceable data.

When I told my mother what happened, she didn't hesitate.

"That was a sting.

They obviously scoped you out the moment you went inside, and that little interplay at the cashier was just to distract you. The bubblegum, which she left, was a dead giveaway."

I sighed.

"After all those trips to South America, you still have the instincts of a trusting, oblivious gringa."

Well. Not quite.

I would have tackled her like a Lawrence Taylor bitch, to get back that cell phone.

P.S.: I'm writing down my irreplaceable data all day Monday.

P.P.S.: Remind me to tell you the one about the Colombian dwarves, and the 8 year-old shoe-shine boy one day, okay?

6 Comments:

  • After reading your great posts for several months I start thinking I am getting to know you. Then you go and actually get out of your car in that neighborhood!!! I don't know you at all! Chica, tu estas loca???

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Mon Feb 20, 10:03:00 am GMT-5  

  • After reading your great posts for several months I start thinking I am getting to know you.

    Hah! No one can truly know any woman. It's written in the Bible.

    Then you go and actually get out of your car in that neighborhood!!!

    Pero casi me orine, Jose...I blame el cafecito I had two hours before that.

    I don't know you at all! Chica, tu estas loca???

    I know I know I know.

    My mother already read me the riot act, and trust me, she was so right. And you too.

    Rarely have been this reckless...except the time I was driving up to Wash D.C. and had to stop for petrol.

    Guess what happened?

    Held up at gun point by two guys, one jabbing a silver gun in my ribs the like I'll never forget.

    I'm telling you, I'm stupider than you think. :(

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 20, 11:21:00 am GMT-5  

  • You are so lucky! They would have ran up your phone bill on long distance calls and then sold the phone on ebay before you even noticed it was gone!

    That was very brazen of them, and clever. Your mom is right, it sounds like they've tried this a few times before. They even have the "sorry" excuse down pat.

    I stick to Tim Hortons or hold it. :)

    By Blogger Renato, at Mon Feb 20, 11:23:00 am GMT-5  

  • I would have tackled her like a Lawrence Taylor bitch, to get back that cell phone.

    Hottest. Female. Football. Action. Ever.

    I would have paid good money to see that, too.

    Hah! No one can truly know any woman. It's written in the Bible.

    Depends on what you mean by know.

    By Blogger I R A Darth Aggie, at Mon Feb 20, 12:16:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I'm telling you, I'm stupider than you think. :(

    No, you're not.

    By Blogger Paul, at Mon Feb 20, 04:17:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Victoria,

    You always have the most interesting stories! I'm glad you weren't assaulted or hurt.

    I would have tackled her like a Lawrence Taylor bitch, to get back that cell phone.

    Or maybe Terry Tate, Walgreens linebacker?

    By Blogger Pastor_Jeff, at Tue Feb 21, 06:30:00 pm GMT-5  

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